● How the Jews Defeated Hitler: Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism
By Benjamin Ginsberg
Rowman & Littlefield, 234 pages, $35
Benjamin Ginsberg’s intriguing new book, “How the Jews Defeated Hitler,” offers a provocative new answer to an old question. In seeking to explain why the Jews failed to resist the Nazis during World War II, he declares that they not only resisted, but also helped bring about the Nazis’ defeat.
Ginsberg, a professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University, interweaves factual and counterfactual observations throughout his study. His main thesis is that the Allies did not win World War II without the help of “the Jews.” At the same time, he frequently wonders whether the Allies “could…have won without the help of the Jews.” The first statement is correct but not well known; the latter is unknowable. Together they define the book’s strengths and weaknesses.
Ginsberg begins by challenging the belief, associated with the work of Hannah Arendt and Raul Hilberg, that the Jews were less likely to resist the Nazis during the Holocaust than to collaborate with them. In refuting this claim, Ginsberg does not cite the abundance of recent scholarship showing how Jews practiced diverse strategies of (mostly nonviolent) resistance during the war. Rather, he redefines resistance altogether, abandoning a focus on the plight of largely powerless Jews living under Nazi rule (in ghettos and concentration camps), and shifting it to Jews who lived outside the Nazi orbit and fought them more actively.
The author explores the role of Jewish “resisters” in four areas: 1) in the Soviet army, where they were soldiers, officers and engineers tasked with inventing new weapons; 2) in the United States, where they promoted wartime interventionism, served in the army, financed the war and developed the atom bomb; 3) in the area of Allied espionage, whether working for the Soviets, British or Americans, and 4) in various European anti-Nazi resistance movements. Only in the last realm were Jews under Nazi occupation. In the other three, they belonged to what might better be described as the active “opposition” to the Nazis.
In each of the four categories of Jewish resistance, Ginsberg describes many impressive facts about Jewish participation in the Allied war effort. Readers will be especially impressed to learn about little-known Jewish contributions to the Soviet cause, including their role in inventing the T-34 tank, the La-5 aircraft, and the Katyusha rocket.
The question, of course, is how these Jewish contributions should be assessed. Ginsberg himself seems undecided. Early on, he boldly claims that “the allies, particularly the USSR, would very likely have been defeated without the Jews.” At other points he is more hesitant, declaring, for instance, that Soviet Jewish soldiers “played an important role but hardly determined the outcome of the war.”
One reason for Ginsberg’s indecisiveness is the conceptual ambiguity of his book’s chief protagonists — “the Jews.” His frequent use of this generalizing phrase can, at times, mislead. Readers might reasonably assume from the book’s title, for example, that the Jews alone defeated Hitler. Other sentences, such as “The Jews resisted through their influence in the United States” or “The Jews and WASPS forged an alliance,” will prompt readers to ask: Which Jews? Religious or secular? Liberal or conservative? Young or old? Elsewhere, Ginsberg is more careful, writing that “Jews” (not “the Jews”) “had a good deal of influence within the new Soviet state.” This formulation shows that Ginsberg is aware of how generalizing terms can reinforce anti-Semitic canards. But it does not prompt him to differentiate — as perhaps he should — among the different people who compose “the Jews.”
Then there is the difficult question of proportionality in assessing the Jewish contribution to Allied victory. When Ginsberg writes that Jews were “prominent” in the Red Army and then discloses that they were “4 percent of the army’s officers…and more than 10 percent of its political officers,” what should readers conclude? These figures certainly show Jewish overrepresentation in the army. But it means that more than 90% of Red Army officers were non-Jewish. Similarly, when he writes that 2% of Bletchley Park cryptologists were Jewish at a time when only .5% of England was Jewish, it raises the question of what numerical thresh old should count as meaningful — let alone decisive — in measuring the Jewish contribution to the Nazis’ defeat.
Without fully wrestling with this question, Ginsberg’s analysis is less convincing than it otherwise might be. When he writes, with respect to the Soviet war effort, that “the Jews were… the best educated… segment of the populace. There were none to take their places,” he implies that the USSR would have lost the war without the Jews. But if Jews were at most 10%–15% of key sectors of the Soviet war effort, that means that at least 85% of the Red Army’s officer corps, engineering cadres and spies were non-Jews. They clearly did not lack talent. Would their contributions have sufficed for the USSR to defeat the Germans?
We cannot know with certainty. But in counterfactual history, it is commonly argued that the absence of certain individuals would not have prevented the occurrence of key scientific, technological and cultural breakthroughs. If not Copernicus, then Galileo; if not Einstein, then Oppenheimer; if not Hus, then Luther. This arguably holds true for groups, as well. If the Jews had not existed, the Soviets may simply have drawn on others to staff the army, invent the weapons and win the war.
Moreover, for Ginsberg to really answer the causal question of what the Jews’ contribution to the Allied victory was, he would need to address whether the Allies really won the war or whether the Germans lost it. Historians such as Niall Ferguson and Adam Tooze have argued recently that the Nazis inevitably lost the war because of their economic inferiority to the Allies. Was the Jews’ role, therefore, merely supportive as opposed to decisive? Ginsberg does not say.
Then again, he is ultimately less interested in providing a sustained empirical analysis of his fascinating question than in producing a polemic. This is made clear in the book’s final chapter, which is a prolonged critique of left-wing anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism after 1945. However cogent many of his points in this chapter may be (and some are stronger than others), they are oddly divorced from the question of how the Jews helped to defeat Hitler. Thus the book ends on an idiosyncratic note.
Whatever readers make of Ginsberg’s conclusions, they are sure to be stimulated by his engaging and provocative book. Although he may overstate the Jews’ contribution to Hitler’s defeat, he offers a useful corrective to prevailing views of Jewish impotence. In World War II, Jews were not only victims — they were also victors.
Gavriel Rosenfeld is a professor of history at Fairfield University. His book, “Hi Hitler! The Nazi Past in the New Millennium,” will appear with Cambridge University Press in 2014.
This story “Did Jews Win the Second World War?” was written by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld.
By Douglas Reed
From The Controversy of Zion
if thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord Thy God: … I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live for ever”.
Such was the life and the blessing which the Judahites, gathered in the Temple in 621 BC, were exhorted in the name of Jehovah and Moses to choose by their tribal chieftain Josiah, the mouthpiece of the priesthood.
The purpose and meaning of existence, under this “Mosaic Law”, was the destruction and enslavement of others for the sake of plunder and power. Israel might from that moment have counted itself happy to have been pronounced dead and to have been excluded from such a world to come. The Israelites had mingled in the living bloodstream of mankind; on its banks the Judahites were left stranded in the power of a fanatical priesthood which commanded them, on pain of “all these curses”, to destroy.
To the terror inspired by “all these curses” the Levites added also an allurement. In this tenet Deuteronomy most clearly revealed the status allotted to the heathen by The Second Law. In the last analysis, “the heathen” have no legal existence under this Law; how could they have, when Jehovah only “knows” his “holy people”?
Insofar as their actual existence is admitted, it is only for such purposes as those stated in verse 65, chapter 28 and verse 7, chapter 30: namely, to receive the Judahites when they are dispersed for their transgressions and then, when their guests repent and are forgiven, to inherit curses lifted from the regenerate Judahites.
True, the second verse quoted gives the pretext that “all these curses” will be transferred to the heathen because they “hated” and “persecuted” the judahites, but how could they be held culpable of this when the very presence of the Judahites among them was merely the result of punitive “curses” inflicted by Jehovah? For Jehovah himself, according to another verse (64, chapter 28) took credit for putting the curse of exile on the Judahites:
And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other … and among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest…”
Deuteronomy employs this Doublespeak (to use the modem idiom) throughout: the Lord makes the special people homeless among the heathen for their transgressions; the heathen, who have no blame either for their exile or for those transgressions, are their “persecutors “; ergo, the heathen will be destroyed.
The Judaist attitude towards other mankind, creation, and the universe in general, is better understood when these and related passages have been pondered, and especially the constant plaint that Jews are “persecuted” everywhere, which in one tone or another runs through nearly all Jewish literature. To any who accept this book as The Law, the mere existence of others is in fact persecution; Deuteronomy plainly implies that.
The most nationalist Jew and the most enlightened Jew often agree in one thing: they cannot truly consider the world and its affairs from any but a Jewish angle, and from that angle “the stranger” seems insignificant. Thinking makes it so, and this is the legacy of twenty-five centuries of Jewish thinking; even those Jews who see the heresy or fallacy cannot always divest themselves entirely of the incubus on their minds and spirits.
The passage from Deuteronomy last quoted shows that the ruling sect depicted homelessness at one and the same time as the act of the special people’s god and as persecution by the special people’s enemies, deserving of “all these curses”. To minds of such extreme egotism a political outrage in which 95 Gentiles and 5 Jews lose their lives or property is simply an anti-Jewish disaster, and they are not consciously hypocritical in this.
In the Twentieth Century this standard of judgment has been projected into the lives of other peoples and applied to all major events in the ordeal of the West. Thus we live in the century of the Levitical fallacy.
Having undertaken to put “all these curses” on innocent parties, if the Judahites would return to observance of “all these statutes and judgments”, the resurrected Moses of Deuteronomy promised one more blessing (“The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them… “) and then was allowed to die in the land of Moab.
Jews moved to Warsaw Ghetto during WWII to avoid non-Jews & ‘nasty Poles’ – father of Polish PM
“Do you know who chased the Jews away to the Warsaw Ghetto?” Kornel Morawiecki asked while speaking to Polish Kultura Liberalna magazine on Tuesday.
“The Germans, you think? No. The Jews themselves went because they were told that there would be an enclave, that they would not have to deal with those nasty Poles.”
The eyebrow-raising statement was made by the father of current Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who assumed office in December 2017.
The ex-politician went further, touching upon another hot topic – the alleged complicity of Jews in the Nazi-led genocide against the Jewish population.
Polish authorities tried to distance themselves from the controversial remark by the prime minister’s father. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki, Morawiecki’s comment “does not reflect the position of the government.”
Relations between Poland and Israel started to sour after Warsaw passed controversial legislation in February outlawing use of the phrase “Polish death camp.” It also blamed Poles for complicity in Holocaust crimes during the World War II. The bill attracted harsh criticism from Israeli authorities and Jewish groups worldwide.
The spat reached new levels after Morawiecki Jr referred to “Jewish perpetrators” during the Nazi era. “There were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian and German perpetrators,” the newly-appointed PM said, responding to an Israeli journalist.
The remark immediately drew fire from his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, who criticized Morawiecki’s “inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy” of Israeli people. Jewish groups immediately responded that the Polish prime minister definitely ‘crossed line of common sense.’
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
The Jews are coming – Eichmann’s execution | כאן 11 לשעבר רשות השידור
11 | “The Jews are coming” is a comedy sketch show that examines the history of the Jewish people from biblical times to the present, broadcast on Israel`s channel 1.